REDONDO BEACH (CBS)— A pod of blue whales – a rarity worldwide – was spotted in Santa Monica Bay Monday about a mile offshore.

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Several of the behemoths were seen breaching the surface of the water near King Harbor.

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A Long Beach-based captain of a whale-watching vessel has reported seeing as many as a dozen blue whales recently, but not inside the bay.

Hunting blue whales was banned worldwide in 1966, and they are now believed to number about 12,000 or more globally.

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Blue whales, which grow up to about 90 feet and can live for as long as 80 years, sift krill and other plankton from the ocean with sieve-like structures in their mouths called baleen.